Monday, May 6, 2013

Our House Guest

For the last few weeks we have had a house guest. His name is Claudio and he's from Brazil. We met Claudio when we went on our mission trip to Niteroi, Brazil two years ago. He was our cook at the mission and our interpreter when we visited churches. Rob went back to Brazil last fall and formed a closer relationship with Claudio on that trip. So when Claudio told us that he was working to aquire his American residency, we told him we would help in whatever way we could. Although Claudio lived in New Jersey as a child and has relatives in the New York area, he wants to live in the south when he brings his family to the U.S. As he says, "I want my family to live in the Bible belt!"

Two years ago Claudio put his paperwork in to acquire his American residency. He already held a green card and has been coming to the States annually for 4-6 weeks to keep it active. Finally, he received word this year that he could begin taking the formal steps to make moving his family here a reality. But first he needs to show that he is gainfully employeed, has a home, and a stable income. These are the things we (and others) are helping him with. For the next month he will live with us and work for Rob. Then he will return to Brazil for two months, see his family (two children and a wife) and work for the Mission again. In July, he will return to us and begin looking for a home for his family as well as other work. (He'd love to be a high school soccer coach!) Hopefully, shortly after that, his family can move here with him.


Claudio and Robert in their matching Brazilian Soccer Shirts
  Although I was a bit apprehensive about having a house guest for an extended period of time, I have to say it has been a blessing. It has also changed our household a bit, but I honestly think it's for the better. Here are the things I've noticed:

1. We are nicer to each other. Who wants a guest to see you arguing and airing your dirty laundry?

2. My kids often spend too much time watching TV and playing electronics. I am noticing this because I am viewing it from another person's eyes. We are working on this.

3. We are spoiled rotten. When we served dinner the other night using our Spode china, Claudio commented on the plates and how attractive they are. Rob shared with him the cost of each plate (because he was bragging that he bought them for half price!) and I could see the amazement in Claudio's wide eyes. How could we spend that much money on a single plate?? Guess we need to re-think our priorities, don't we!?!

4. It's really nice to have a cook who enjoys cooking! Claudio has been kind enough to cook dinner for us a few times. We are experiencing Brazilian dishes in our own dining room and even Sara Ashley, our picky eater, is enjoying them! And I am enjoying watching Claudio work in our kitchen. Cooking has never been much fun to me, but watching him cook with joy really is fun.

5. We have plenty of room to help a friend. We've got this big 'ol house. We need to share it.

6. Our faith in the United States is different from the faith in Brazil. Because we have so many freedoms and access to material items here, I believe that we think we don't need to lean on God as much as those in Brazil and other countries do. This is to our detriment. I do not feel that our faith or convictions are as strong, and we don't look to and rely on God for our daily direction. I am working to change this in my own life and the lives of our children.

7. America truly is the land of opportunity. Although we have our problems here, compared to other countries we have freedoms and opportunities that they only dream about. Sadly, most of us (myself included) are too self-consumed to even appreciate it or realize it. Seeing our country through Claudio's eyes, I am humbled to realize the blessings that we have and to thank God for them every day.

If you ever have an opportunity to help someone by bringing them into your home, our recent experience has proven that it can truly be an unexpected gift rather than an inconvenience. In Hebrews, God asks us not to neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2 ESV) I'm not sure if Claudio is an angel, but I am sure that we are sharing a mutual blessing and I thank God for it.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!! I've seen the pictures on Facebook, but didn't realize you all were hosting Claudio as your house guest. Your kindness and generosity will be rewarded and from this post it sounds as if you are already receiving some of those rewards. I always pray for you guys, but I will definitely lift you up in prayer as you continue to help Claudio and his family! We love the Estes family and love to hear how God is using each of you for His glory and His Kingdom work. Love you!!